Former India cricketer turned renowned commentator Aakash Chopra has slammed the Indian team management’s decision to drop veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from the playing XI for the first Test against England. He also termed it as an unfair one. According to him, Ashwin’s performance was good enough to be picked for the team as well.
However, India surprised everyone with their pick as they chose left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja ahead of R Ashwin in the Trent Bridge Test. While speaking on his YouTube channel, Chopra found the decision odd of dropping Ashwin.
He said: “India played Shardul Thakur as Ishant Sharma was injured. KL Rahul was also chosen as was Ravindra Jadeja. But there was no place for Ravichandran Ashwin, which I feel is wrong. India should have played Ashwin. If you look at the Australia tour, he was really good. Even in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Ravichandran Ashwin bowled better than Jadeja. Why would you leave him out? This is the first match of the Test series, you should have played him. Maybe India would not have needed him much but he should have been there in the XI.”
However, Indian bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah (4/46), Mohammed Shami (3/28) and Shardul Thakur (2/41) did quite well and bundle England out for 183 only. Meanwhile, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh backed the decision. Speaking to PTI on this, he said that there was nothing wrong in adding Jadeja.
Harbhajan explained: “I guess if you would have played Ashwin, the tail would have been very long. You didn’t know how much spin, in fact, will be used. Jaddu has bowled three out of 50 overs till tea. So overs that you will use spin, Jaddu can bowl those overs. And why do we jump to the conclusion that Jaddu can’t be used as a lone spinner?”
“And if you look at overseas performances, Jaddu has been a better batsman and has a solid presence in the lower order. And is it so that Jaddu hasn’t taken wickets? It’s the first Test of the series, you want to win, but at the same time, you would like to also have your defense prepared. You don’t want to concede advantage on the batting front, and I feel it’s fine if the team management thinks that way,” he concluded.